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20

 

  Meavwhile Angel Clare returned to his hotel,and sat for a while over breakfast,staring into space.A note arrived from his mother,saying that his brother Cuthbert was going to marry Mercy Chant.Clare threw away the paper.At last he got up,paid the bill and went to the railway station But he could not sit patiently and wait for the next train,in an hour's time.He had nothing to wish for in life,and nobody to love He was in no hurry,but just wanted to get out of that town as soon as possible.

  So he started walking along the road out of town.The road was open,and dropped down to cross a valley.When he was climbing the far side of the valley,he stopped for breath,and something made him turn round.There was a small black figure in the distance-a human figure,running Clare waited.It looked like a woman,but he never imagined that it could be his wife until she came close and he saw it was less.

  ‘I saw you—turn on to the road-from the station—and I've been following you all this way!’She was pale,breathless and trembling.He did not question her but took her arm and helped her along.They took a footpath under some trees,to avoid being seen.

  ‘Angel,’she said,‘do you know why I've been running after you?To tell you that I've killed him!’There was a pitiful smile on her white face as she spoke.

  ‘What!’he cried,thinking her mind was disturbed.

  ‘I don't know how I did it,’she said.‘I had to do it,for you and me,Angel.I was afraid long ago,when I hit him in the mouth with that heavy glove,that I might kill him one day.He has come between us and ruined our lives.I never loved him at all,Angel.You believe me,don't you?Oh,why did you go away,when I loved you so much?But I don't blame you,Angel.Only,will you forgive me now?I could not bear losing you any longer,I had to kill him.Say you love me now,say you do!’

  ‘Oh,I do love you,Tess,I do.It has all come back!’he said,holding her tightly in his arms.‘But what do you mean,you've killed him?’

  ‘He is dead.He heard me crying about you,and he called you rude names.I couldn't bear it.So I killed him.’

  Eventually Angel came to believe that she probably had killed d'Urberville.He was amazed at the strength of her feeling,and this,it seemed,had made her forget the difference between right and wrong.She did not seem to realize what she had done,and laid her head on his shoulder,crying with happiness.He wondered if the bad blood of the d'Urbervilles was to blame for this moment of madness.

  However,he knew he could not leave her now.She expected him to protect her.And at last,Clare felt nothing but love for this passionate,loving wife of his.He kissed her again and again,and held her hand.

  ‘I won't leave you!I'll protect you as well as I can,my dearest love,whatever you may or may not have done!’

  They walked on,less turning her head occasionally to look at him.For her he was still perfection,despite his thinness and pale face.He was the one man who had loved her purely,and who believed in her as pure.Their arms around each other's waists,they walked through the woods on lonely footpaths,taking care not to meet anybody.They did not talk much,being content to be together at last.

  ‘Where shall we go?’asked Tess.

  ‘I don't know.Perhaps we could find a cottage to stay in tonight.Can you walk a long way,Tessy?’

  ‘Oh yes!I could walk for ever with your arm around me!’ At midday Angel went to a public house and brought food and wine back to where Tess was waiting in the woods for him.Her clothes were so fashionable that the country people would have noticed her.

  ‘I think we should keep walking inland,away from the coasts,said Clare,as they finished eating.‘We can hide there for a while.Later on,when they stop looking for us,we can go to a port and get right out of the country.’

  But their plans were vague.They were like two children,who think only of the moment.The weather was warm and they enjoyed walking together.However,in the afternoon they did nut find any suitable cottages to stay in,and it was too cold to sleep outside.They had walked about fifteen miles,when they passed a large empty house in the middle of the woods.

  ‘All those rooms empty!’said Tess,‘and we have no shelter!’

  ‘We can stay the night there,’said Clare.‘Look,there's a window open.The caretaker probably airs the rooms in the daytime.We can climb in.Nobody will know.’

  And so they did.They chose a bedroom with heavy old-fashioned furniture and a huge old bed.They kept quiet while the caretaker came to shut the windows in the evening.Then the house was theirs.They ate some of the food they had brought,and went to bed in total darkness.

  During the night she told him about his sleepwalking just after their wedding.

  ‘You should have told me at the time!’

  ‘Don't think of the past!Think of the present.Tomorrow may mean the end of our happiness.’

  But when tomorrow came it was wet and foggy.It seemed that the caretaker only came on fine days,so they were alone in the house.They had enough food and wine,and stayed there for the next five days.It was the honeymoon they had never had.They had no contact with people,and only noticed changes in the weather.Neither mentioned the depressing period from their wedding-day to the present.They lived for the moment,and were completely happy.When Angel suggested leaving their shelter and travelling to a port like Southampton or London,Tess was unwilling.

  ‘Why put an end to sweetness and happiness?Outside,everything is confused and sad.Here,we are quite content.

  Angel agreed.Inside was forgiveness and love:outside was eventual punishment.

  ‘And…’she said,putting her cheek against his,‘I want you to go on loving me.I'm afraid you might reject me one day for what I've done.Then I would rather be dead.I must have been mad to kill him!But I don't want to be alive when you reject me for it.’

  They stayed for one more day,but the caretaker came early that fine sunny morning.She wanted to open the windows in the bedrooms,which she did not usually do,and opened their bedroom door.She saw the young couple lying in the big bed,fast asleep,and hurried away to tell her neighbours.

  Tess and Angel woke soon after,and decided to leave immediately.They dared not stay any longer.When they were in the woods Tess turned to look at the house.

  ‘So much happiness in that house!’she whispered.‘My life can only be a question of a few weeks.Why couldn't we have stayed there?’

  ‘Don't say that,Tess!We'll go northwards and get to a port.They won't find us.’

  They kept going all day and most of the night,passing the cathedral city of Melchester and reaching open land.It was a windy,cloudy night.They walked on grass,so as not to make any noise on the road.They were alone and in darkness. Suddenly,Clare almost bumped into a great stone rising up in front of him.Moving forwards carefully,they found other stones,standing tall and black against the night sky.

  ‘What on earth is this place?’Clare asked.

  ‘Listen!’cried Tess.

  The wind,playing on the huge stones,produced a strange tune,like the notes of a great harp.The couple walked slowly into the middle of the great circle of stones.

  ‘It's Stonehenge!’cried Clare.

  ‘The pagan temple?’

  ‘Yes.Older than the centuries;Older than the d'Urbervilles!’

  ‘Let's stay here tonight,Angel,’said Tess,lying down on a flat stone which was still warm from the day's sunshine.

  ‘We'd better not.This place can be seen for miles in daylight.’

  ‘I feel at home here,’murmured Tess.‘You used to say at Talbothays that I was a pagan,do you remember?’

  He bent over her and kissed her.

  ‘Sleepy,are you,dearest?’

  ‘I love it here,’she said.‘I have been so happy with you.And here I have only the sky above my face.There is nobody in the world except us two.’

  Clare thought she could rest a while here.He put his coat over her,and lay down beside her.

  ‘Angel,’she asked presently,as they listened to the wind among the stones,‘if anything happens to me,will you take care of Liza-Lu?’

  ‘I will.’

  She is so good and pure.Oh Angel,I wish you would marry her if you lose me,as you will do soon ‘If I lose you,I lose everything.’

  ‘She has all the best of me without my bad side,and if she were yours,it would almost seem as if we were not separated by death.Well,I won't mention it again.’

  There was silence for a while.Angel could see the first light in the east.They had not much time.

  ‘Did they sacrifice to God here?’she asked

  ‘No,to the sun.’

  ‘That reminds me,dear.Tell me,do you think we shall meet again after we are dead?I want to know.

  He kissed her to avoid replying.

  ‘Oh Angel,that means no!’she almost sobbed.‘And I so wanted to see you again-so much,so much!Not even you and I,Angel,who love each other so much?’

  He could not answer.Soon she fell asleep on the stone of sacrifice The night wind died away,and the stones looked black in the half-light.Something seemed to move in the distance.It was a figure approaching Stonehenge.Clare wished they had gone on,but it was too late.He turned,and saw another,and another.They were uniformed men,closing in on Tess with slow purposeful steps.Clare jumped up wildly,looking round for a way to escape.

  ‘It's no use,sir,’said the nearest policeman.‘We've surrounded the place.’

  ‘Let her finish her sleep!’he begged in a whisper,as the men gathered round the stone.He held her hand.She was breathing more like a trapped animal than a woman.All waited in the growing light,their faces and hands silver,the stones grey.When the light was strong,she awoke.

  ‘What is it,Angel?’she said,sitting up.‘Have they come for me?’

  ‘Yes,dearest,they have.’

  ‘That is right.I am almost glad.This happiness could not have lasted!’

  She stood up and went towards the waiting men.‘I am ready,’she said quietly.

  One July morning the sun shone on two figures climbing the hill leading out of the fine city of Wintoncester.They were young but they walked bent in sorrow.One was Angel Clare,the other Tess's younger sister,Liza-Lu.Hand in hand,with pale,tear-stained faces,they walked in silence.

  When they reached the top of the hill,they heard the town clocks strike eight.They turned quickly and looked back at the city.They could see the cathedral,the college and the prison very clearly.A tall post was fixed to the prison tower.A few minutes after eight,as they watched,a black flag moved slowly up the post.

The gods had finished playing with Tess.Society had seen ‘justice’done.Her d'Urberville ancestors slept on in their tombs,uncaring.The two silent watchers dropped to the ground and stayed there without moving for a long time.The flag waved in the wind.As soon as they had strength,they stood up,joined hands again,and continued slowly on their way.

20

 

  同时,安吉尔·克莱尔回到了他的旅馆,整顿早餐他就坐在那儿,死死地盯着前方。他的母亲来了封短信,说他的哥哥卡斯伯特就要同默茜·钱特结婚了。克莱尔把信扔掉了。最后他站了起来,付清了账,走到了火车站。可是他无法耐心地坐在那里等下一趟火车,那得花一个小时。他对生活已不抱任何希望,也没有人可以爱了。他有充裕的时间,但只想尽快地离开这个城镇。

  于是他开始沿着出城的马路走着。这条路很开阔,顺着下来,横穿过一座山谷。当他在山谷远处的那头爬行时,他停下来喘口气,有什么东西促使他转过身去。远处有个小小的黑影——是一个人的身影,正在跑着。克莱尔等待着。像是一个女人,可是克莱尔一点都没想到这可能是他的妻子。直到她走近了,他才认出来,那是苔丝。

  “我看到你——转身上了马路——从火车站——我一直跟了你这么远!”她脸色苍白,上气不接下气,还有些发抖。他没有问什么,挽着她的胳膊,扶着她一起走。他们挑了一条树下的小路走,以免被人看见。

  “安吉尔,”她说,“你知道我为什么一直追赶着你吗?我要告诉你,我杀死他了!”她说话时,苍白的脸上漾出一丝令人怜悯的微笑。

  “什么!”他尖叫道,认为她神志不清了。

  “我不知道我是怎么做的,”她说,“我必须这么做,安吉尔,为了你,也为了我。很早以前,当我用那只笨重的手套抽他的嘴巴时,我就怕有一天我也许会杀了他。他插在我们中间,毁了我们的生活。我根本就不爱他,你相信我,是不是?哦,当初,我那么爱你的时候,你为什么离开我啊?不过,我现在并不责怪你,安吉尔。我只是想问你,安吉尔,现在你会宽恕我吗?我不能忍受再失去你,我不得不杀死他。现在,说你爱我吧,说你爱我!”

  “啊,我是爱你的,苔丝,我确实爱你。一切都回来了!”他说着,把她紧紧地搂到怀里。“可是,你的意思是,你杀死他了?”

  “他死了。他听见我在哭喊你,就粗鲁地叫骂你的名字,我忍无可忍,于是杀了他。”

  终于,安吉尔渐渐相信她也许真地杀死了德伯。他对她感情的力量感到惊愕,而这,似乎让他忘记了是非的区别。她像是根本没有认识到自己做过了什么,把她的头埋在他的肩上,幸福地哭着。他怀疑是否德伯家族的罪恶血统该为这一刻的疯狂遭受谴责。

  然而,他知道,现在他不能离开她,她期待着他来保护她。到最后,克莱尔除了对他热情、忠诚的妻子满怀爱意之外,已感觉不到其他了,他对她吻了又吻,抓起了她的手。

  “我不会离开你的!我会尽我所能来保护你,最亲爱的宝贝,无论你做过还是没做过任何事情!”

  他们继续走着,苔丝不时地转过头看看他,尽管他的脸庞瘦削苍白,但对她而言,他仍是完美的。他是唯一一个不掺杂质地爱过她、并相信她的纯洁的男人。他们互相揽着对方的腰,在树林中孤寂的小径上穿行,小心翼翼地避开任何人。他们谈得不多,对于终于能够团聚感到心满意足。

  “我们要去哪儿?”苔丝问道。

  “我不知道。也许我们能找到一间今晚住的小屋,苔丝,你能走远路吗?”

  “哦,我能!有你的手臂搂着我,我可以永远地走下去!”

  到了中午时分,安吉尔到一个酒店买了此食物和酒回来,苔丝就在树林里等着他。她的衣服这么时新,会引起乡下人注意的。

  “我认为我们应该继续朝内地走,离开海岸。”当他们吃完东西时,克莱尔说道。“我们可以在那儿躲藏一段时间。之后,等他们停止搜寻我们的时候,我们可以到一个港口,径直逃离这个国家。”

  可是他们的打算是含糊的。他们就像两个孩于,只考虑到眼前的情况。天气暖洋洋的,他们乐于一起走着。然而,到了下午,他们还没找到一间可以住的房子,睡在外面又太冷了。当他们大约走了十五英里时,他们在树林中央经过了一幢空荡荡的大房子。

  “所有的房间都是闲置着的!”苔丝说,“而我们连个可以遮蔽的地方都没有!”

  “我们今晚可以待在这儿!”克莱尔说道。“看,那儿有个窗户开着。看管人可能在白天让房子通通风。我们可以爬进去,没有人知道的。”

  于是他们爬了进去。他们选择的那间卧室摆放着式样古老的家具和一张宽大的旧床。晚上,当看管人来关窗户时,他们就保持安静,没有发出声响。之后,这幢房子就属于他们了。他们吃了一些带来的食物之后,就在一团漆黑中上床睡觉了。

  夜里,她对他说了婚礼后他梦游的事。

  “那个时候你就应该告诉我!”

  “别想过去的事了,想想现在吧!明天也许就是我们幸福的终结。”

  可是第二天的天气很潮湿,雾气蒙蒙的。看来那个看管人只在天气晴朗的日子才来,因此,他们单独住在房子里。他们有足够的食物和酒,接下来又住了五天。这段时间成了他们以前没有享受过的蜜月。他们和外界没有任何联系,能注意到的只是天气的变化。他们谁也不提婚后到现在那一段忧郁的日子。他们为眼前活着,非常非常地幸福。安吉尔提议离开这个临时的避难所,前往像南安普顿或伦敦这样的港口城市,可苔丝不愿意。

  “为什么要结束甜蜜和幸福?在外面,一切都是那么混乱和悲伤。在这儿,我们十分满足。”

  安吉尔同意了。里面只有宽恕和爱情;而外面是最后的惩罚。

  “还有……”她把她的脸颊贴着他的,说道,“我要你继续爱我。我害怕有一天你会因为我所做的事抛弃我。那样,我情愿死去。我一定是疯了,我把他杀死了!可是如果你因此抛弃我,那我也不想活了。”

  他们又待了一天。但是在那个阳光明媚的早晨,看管人来了。她想把卧室的窗户打开——她平时不经常这么做——就打开了他们卧室的门。她看到这对年轻的夫妇躺在那张大床上,酣睡着,就赶紧去告诉她的邻居们。

  苔丝和安吉尔很快就醒了,决定立即离开。他们不敢再多停留一会儿。他们到了树林里,苔丝回头看了看那幢房子。

  “那座房子里有那么多的幸福!”她轻声说道,“我的性命也不过是几个星期的事情了,为什么我们不能留在那儿?”

  “别这么说,苔丝!我们朝北走,到达一个港口,他们不会找到我们的。”

  他们赶了整整一个白天和几乎整个晚上的路程,经过了教堂城市梅尔切斯特,到了一片开阔的平原。这是一个多云、有风的夜晚。他们为了避免在路上发出任何声响,就在草地上走。黑暗中只有他们两个人。

  突然,安吉尔几乎猛地撞上了一块竖在他面前的巨石。他们小心翼翼地朝前移动着,又发现了其他石头,在夜晚的苍穹下,高高地、黑黑地矗立着。

  “这到底是什么地方?”克莱尔问。

  “听!”苔丝叫道。

  风在这些巨石上弹奏着,发出一种奇怪的音调,就像一架巨大的竖琴演奏出的乐章。这两个人慢慢地走到了这些石头环绕着的一个大圆圈的中央。

  “这是巨石阵!”克莱尔叫道。

  “异教徒神庙?”

  “是的,比世纪还要古老,比德伯家族还要古老!”

  “安吉尔,我们今晚就待在这儿吧!”苔丝说着,躺在了一块平坦的石头上,石头还留有白天日照时吸收的余温。

  “最好不要。白天,几英里外都能看见这个地方!”

  “在这儿我觉得很自在,”苔丝低声说,“你过去在塔尔勃塞常常说我是个异教徒,你记起来了吗?”

  他俯下身,亲吻她。

  “亲爱的,困了,是吗?”

  “我喜欢这儿,”她说,“和你在一起,我是这么幸福。在这儿,我的上方只有天空,在这个世界里,只有我们两个人。”

  克莱尔心想,她可以在这儿休息一会儿,他把自己的外套盖在她的身上,在她身边躺了下来。

  “安吉尔,”后来,在他们倾听着石头之间的风声对她问道,“如果我有什么不测,你愿意照顾丽莎-露吗?”

  “我愿意。”

  “她是那么贤惠纯洁,哦,安吉尔,如果你失去我——你不久就会失去我的,我希望你能娶她。”

  “如果我失去你,我就失去了一切。”

  “她具有一切我最好的东西,却没有我坏的一面。如果她属于你了,那么几乎就好像死亡没把我们分开一样。好了,我不再提它了。”

  有一会儿,他们都默不作声。安吉尔能看到东方亮起了第一道曙光。他们没有多少时间了。

  “他们是在这儿祭献上帝吗?”她问。

  “不,祭献太阳。”

  “这倒提醒我了,亲爱的,告诉我,你认为我们死后还会相遇吗?我想知道。”

  他吻她,想避开这个问题。

  “哦,安吉尔,那就是说不能!”她几乎要哭了。“我是那么地想要再见到你——那么强烈,那么强烈!安吉尔,连你和我,两个爱得这么深的人都不能吗?”

  他无法回答,很快,她在那块祭礼石上睡着了。夜里的风渐渐消逝了,从蒙蒙的光线中,那些石头看起来黑乎乎的。远处,像是有什么东西在移动。是一个朝巨石阵靠近的身影。克莱尔真希望他们已经上路了,可是太晚了。他转过头,看到了另外一个人,还有一个。这些穿着制服的人,有目的地缓缓地向苔丝靠近。克莱尔疯狂地跳了起来,环顾四周,想找条逃脱的路。

  “这没用,先生。”离得最近的那个警察说,“我们已经包围了这个地方。”

  “让她睡完觉吧!”当警察们聚集到石头周围时,他低声请求道。他抓住她的手,她的呼吸更像一只落入陷阱的动物发出的,而不是一个女人发出的。所有的人都在越来越明亮的曙光中等待着,他们的脸和手成了银白色的,石块是灰色的。当光线强烈起来时,她醒了。

  “什么事呀,安吉尔?”她说着,坐了起来。“他们来找我了吗?”

  “是的,宝贝,他们来了。”

  “那就对了。我简直感到很高兴,这种幸福本来就不可能持久。”

  她站了起来,朝那些等候的警察走去,“我准备好了。”她平静地说。

  7月的一个早晨,在一座从美好的温顿塞斯特城延伸出来的小山上,阳光正照耀在两个爬山人的身上。他们很年轻,但是因悲痛而伏下身去走着。一位是安吉尔·克莱尔,另一位是苔丝的妹妹,丽莎-露,他们手牵着手,脸色苍白,泪痕满面地默默前行。

  当他们到达山顶时,他们听到教区的钟声敲打了八下。他们迅速转身,眺望着这个城市。他们可以清楚地看到教堂、大学,还有监狱。一根高高的旗杆竖立在监狱塔楼上方。8点过了几分,他们看到一面黑旗缓缓升上旗杆。

  神明对苔丝的戏弄就此告终了,世人看到正义得到了伸张。她的德伯祖先沉睡在他们的坟墓中,漠不关心。两位沉默的观众跌倒在了地上,久久地没有动弹。旗子在风中飘展着。一有了力气,他们就站了起来,重新手挽着手,继续慢慢地走上了他们的路程。